Our History discussion

So... what kind of history are you interested in?

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message 1: by JZ (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:55AM) (new)

JZ Temple | 9 comments Thought I'd start a thread just to see who's out there and to find out what people are interested in discussing.

My interests in history are rather catholic (with a small "c"). I read almost exclusively non-fiction nowadays, technical as well as historical topics. I would probably characterize my desired type of book as "how" and "why" rather than the plain "who" and "when".

I'll post some more book reviews as I get time.

message 2: by Jennie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:56AM) (new)

Jennie | 3 comments I read lots of different kinds of history -- usually I like to use nonfiction to fill a knowledge gap for me. Right now I'm reading Lash's Dreamers and Dealers, about the first 100 days of FDR's administration and the establishment of the New Deal. Though Lash's gossipy style is all over the place, I am enjoying learning about the time between the stock market crash and the CCC et.al.

message 3: by Stacy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:56AM) (new)

Stacy | 1 comments I have been a fan of biographies since I was a little kid (so much so that I remember reading Gilda Radner's autobiography at a very young age, and being sad because the book just ended at the time of her death, she never actually finished it) I read a ton of those, but I find myself often reading a lot of military history and political history..

message 4: by Suvi (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:57AM) (new)

Suvi (orpheusbooks) I read about almost every subject in history except politics. Mostly I'm interested in ancient Egypt and Greece, South America, Africa, literature history, revolutions etc. I'm also fascinated by different people for example Sisi, Elizabeth of Austria.

message 5: by Ted (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:57AM) (new)

Ted Rohe (vangelicmonk) | 3 comments I like all types of history, but recently (last 4 years) focused on Church history, Religious history, history of different countries (Korea, Ethiopia, European, etc.), and history on religious events.

message 6: by Rindis (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:58AM) (new)

Rindis | 6 comments I've been interested in history since I was little. Pretty much all of history interests me, though my longest-running focuses have been World War II and the American Civil War, and over the last decade I've gained an interest in the Roman Republic and Empire.

As for *reading* history, I of course prefer things that are readable, as opposed to dry studies. The latter has a very important place, but is best left to doing research for something, rather than general reading for enjoyment and enrichment.

I've long had a list of good historical novels. Maybe kicking around here I'll finally assemble a list of good narrative history books.


message 7: by Rachel (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:59AM) (new)

Rachel Denham I like political history (especially American politics...I've always had a passion for the American Revolution as well as any kind of post-WWII/FDR American History)

I also really like contemporary Women's history. I've focused a lot of my studies on Women's History in the U.S. and in Europe. Just recently, though, I've been very interested in Middle-Eastern Women's History. (I definitely think this is an up-and-coming area.)

My guilty pleasure has always been Russian History though (as well as Prussian/German and French History.) It's just so brutal, yet really fascinating.

The one type of History that I don't know a lot about but that I would like to learn more about is Ancient History...and maybe Medieval History if I ever get the chance.

message 8: by Anita (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:02PM) (new)

Anita | 1 comments A well-researched historical fiction writer turned on my curiousity about the european renaissance and that has branched out into the european and mediterannean world from the early medieval period on - I really enjoy picking up a note of interest in one book and chosing my next read based on finding out more about that topic. At first the challenge was learning so much overwhelming new information with every book, but now after a couple of years I find myself fitting together missing pieces of a big picture that I now have access to. It only gets better the more books I read. And I can go on reading following this thread indefinitely because there are always new books and scholarship coming out every year - how cool is that?

message 9: by Patrick (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:03PM) (new)

Patrick | 13 comments I love many types of history, and I am very happy that we have this group. Most of what I read and own is grouped by category on my book list, but I have a lot more to add. So, here is my short list, in no particualr order (and I would love to hear from anyone else who is interested in these periods and places):

(1) American political history - all periods, especially FDR
(2) American business history and biography
(3) Military history and theory
(4) Irish history
(5) Chinese history
(6) the American Civil War
(7) the American Revolutionary War period
(8) the China-Burma-India theater in WW II (especially Stilwell's and Wingate's campaigns)
(9) the history of scientific discovery
(10) the history of the American West
(11) the movement to get American women the vote
(12) American Indian history
(13) the American civil rights movement
(14) the history of Nazi Germany,Stalinist Russia, and Maoist China (not a fun topic to read about, but we need to understand what happened in those times/places and why they got so out of control)
(15) the history of historical research methods and interpretation
(16) American labor history
(17) American urban history and the history of specific cities
(18) the history of California

message 10: by Conrad (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:03PM) (new)

Conrad | 5 comments Patrick, history makes up the better part of what I read, and I enjoy a lot of the same subtopics as you: 1 (though I much prefer Nixon, LBJ, and Kennedy, not FDR), 3, 5, 7, 15, and most of all, 14. I read a lot of labor history in college but now it bores the shit out of me.

I also like

(1) Anthropological studies of Lapitan and Melanesian, Polynesian, and Micronesian societies. I find it amazing that these people have done so much with so little. Most people aren't even aware that Lapitan culture ever existed, which is surprising, since they colonized a greater proportion of the globe than anyone else.
(2) The origins of early Socialism in Germany and France
(3) Russian history, 1800-1992, particularly the 1848 generation of intellectuals and the Bolsheviks/Mensheviks
(4) The pre-Revolutionary colonial period in the Americas - particularly the Seven Years' War
(5) Napoleon. 'Nuff said.
(6) The conversion of Northern European pagans
(7) Recent history of Islamic nations

message 11: by Patrick (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:03PM) (new)

Patrick | 13 comments Conrad,

Your topics sound interesting. re #1 - where did the Lapitan people live? South-Central Pacific like the rest of the peoples you mentioned?

Forgot to include Napoleon. That whole period is pretty amazing.

message 12: by Ted (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:04PM) (new)

Ted Rohe (vangelicmonk) | 3 comments I also forgot to mention Korean History. Since I want to do missions in North Korea someday I have been reading about Korean history and culture.

message 13: by Conrad (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:04PM) (new)

Conrad | 5 comments Patrick, you're right, the Lapitans were the original settlers of Melanesia and parts of Polynesia and Micronesia.

message 14: by Mark (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:04PM) (new)

Mark I wanted to second what Anita said. I've become more and more interested in history as time has gone on, and yet I could hardly say my study has been systematic and I didn't do any of it in school. So, like her, my historical knowledge has been a patchwork that I've accumulated almost haphazardly, but which over time fills in more and more of my gaps and gives me a sense of the whole (without ever coming close to comprehensive knowledge).

I think the history I have the least affinity for is military, and part of that may be because so much of my school history experience seemed to be about learnng one battle after the other (quick -- 1066, 1865, 1917). And even if I'm reading an "issues oriented" history, I like it to be full of fascinating characters, like "Paris 1919", which I just finished and loved.

One part of reading history that has made a deep impression on me is the ephemeral nature of fame. Look at how many people were lionized during their lifetimes and are virtually unknown now.

For quite awhile, I've been wanting to do some kind of in-depth look at Edwin Stanton, Lincoln's secretary of war, who at one time was a lawyer in Pittsburgh, where I work. But as far as I know, despite all the Civil War mania, the last biography done of Stanton was in the 1800s or maybe early 1900s, and yet he was an enormously powerful (and sometimes hated) figure during the civil war, and would have become a Supreme Court justice if he hadn't died prematurely. And there have to be thousands of Edwin Stantons out there to explore.

Another example I stumbled across on CSPAN recently, where author Stanley Weintraub was talking about how, in his opinion, the best American general in WWII was Jacob Devers. Who has ever heard of him? When the interviewer asked Weintraub whether he was considering doing a biography on Devers, Weintraub said with some chagrin that you have to keep your book-buying market in mind when you write history (i.e., who would buy a book about someone who was overshadowed by Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley etal?).

Still, I find these lost figures of history utterly fascinating, and hope to encounter many more.

message 15: by Patrick (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:05PM) (new)

Patrick | 13 comments Mark,

I think your commentary is right on the mark. That's what makes history so fascinating to me as well...the collection of great characters and obscure events that are so important, and yet that no one knows anything about.

In the case of military history, I think there are enough afficianados out there who are so into specific subjects that over time good biographies will be produced. When military minded people aren't actually fighting or training, a significant number of them turn to reading, research, and writing to keep focused on their interest. And there will always be a market for it, since other military folks will want to see what the author had to say.

That is not really the case with political history, economic history, social history, and many other types of history...In those fields, the people who are fascinated by those subjects actually can practice in them on a daily basis, and if they do get around to writing anything it's usually their memoirs about the events they took part in.

Personally, I think the most fun way to learn history is the patchwork method you describe -- the alternative is the in-depth survey, like you get in college during freshmen year. Those course are usually uninteresting to most students because they are so broad, and because you don't really have the time to get too in depth on any one topic or person because you have to stay on schedule.

But if you start off with a general interest in one particular event or person and read up on that, then you might become interested in other people and events who are less well known to teh general public. I'm guessing that happened with your interest in Stanton - I assume that your interest in him came from reading a general biography of Lincoln or something about the Civil War. And in the course of reading that book or books, you developed an affinity for that guy, and wanted to find out what made him tick, and how his story ends after the Civil War. And thus another history buff is born.

As for Stanton, have you checked out Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Godwin? My apologies if you have. I just read it and it's OK on Stanton. My impression is that Stanton's role was also well covered in Lincoln's War by Geoffrey Perret.

But you're right -- there should be a more recent biography available for such an important figure in Lincoln's administration.

message 16: by Mark (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:05PM) (new)

Mark Thanks, Patrick, good comments all. Some of my interest in Stanton came from the local angle, since I work in Pittsburgh and actually live in a section of the city called Stanton Heights. But yes, even though I am decidedly not a Civil War buff, I had read a few books on different aspects of it, including Donald Herbert's (I think I got that right) recent Lincoln biography, and that sparked some of my interest in Stanton. I did read the one older biography of him I could find, but in too many cases in the 1800s and early 1900s, biographies were hagiographies.

But in general, much of my reading, my research and my writing is triggered by serendipity. One thing truly does lead to the other.

BTW, I did do a couple Civil War stories for my newspaper, one as part of an anniversary section we did on Gettysburg. The other was very serendipitous, in that I read a magazine article about an American abassador to France who fought to recover John Paul Jones' body from a pauper's grave and get it shipped back to America, then found that the ambassador had been an aide to Ulysses Grant and had written memoirs, then in the memoirs found that there was great yarn about two Union spies making it through the Confederate lines wearing only their underwear, and one of them turned out to be from Pittsburgh, and then I found his grandson was still alive and had all his letters home from the war, and voila, a story was born. Here's the link, in case you care:


message 17: by Grumpus (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:05PM) (new)

Grumpus Mark,

AWESOME story!

To answer Patrick's question of what history I like (message 11), I would say I focus primarily on 6, 7, 9, & 10 with more concentration on 7 & 9.

However, diaries and human interest stories of any time are of particularly great interest. The human aspect or personalization of history through the words of those who lived it bring the story to life in a way a summary of events cannot.

Your story did all of that and made me feel as if I was there. I think I said in one of my reviews that as much as I enjoy history and reading accounts of events, I would not want to be there. Those were rough times and I'm glad that I get to live vicariously through their written accounts.

Again, great work!

message 18: by John (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:05PM) (new)

John I've read a few books that I'd call "Historical Footsteps" - technically, I suppose they're (mostly) travel writing, but with a historical context. A few examples:

"The Riddle and the Knight" by Giles Milton, through the eastern Mediterranean in search of the legend of John Mandeville.
"Prester Quest" by Nicholas Jubber, through Africa in search of the legend of Prester John.
"Route 66 A.D. (a/k/a Pagan Holiday" by Tony Perrottet, places visited by ancient Romans on vacation.
"Corazon de Ulises" (in Spanish) by Javier Reverte: modern Greece, Asia Minor and Alexandria, in context of sites of Greek mythology.

Also, more literary ones such "Travels Without My Aunt" footstepping Graham Greene in non-western locales, and "Finding George Orwell in Burma".

Was wondering if others enjoy this hybrid genre?

message 19: by Mark (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:05PM) (new)

Mark John, I know nothing about this genre, but it sounds great -- particularly the one about Roman holiday spots. What a great concept, and a great book title! Hope it's well written.

message 20: by Mark (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:05PM) (new)

Mark Thanks for the compliment, Grumpus. I really appreciate it. Yes, I think part of the fascinatino of history is being able to be inside crises and tremendously challenging times, from the comfort of an easy chair, preferably with a snack at hand :-)

message 21: by John (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:05PM) (new)

John Mark - I'm very new here, so have many reviews yet to write, but Pagan Holiday (a/k/a Route 66 A.D.) I can highly recommend.

message 22: by Rindis (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:05PM) (new)

Rindis | 6 comments Sounds great! I've put it on my 'to get' list.

message 23: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 28, 2007 10:53PM) (new)

Hi everyone.Interesting to see Americans interested in history. Is anyone anyways into the history of slavery in the U.S. and American colonial history? Does anyone have material on the Filipino-American War? And what are your thoughts about it? I need material right now for a story I'm working on; thanks.

message 24: by JZ (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:13PM) (new)

JZ Temple | 9 comments I just posted a review on "The Slave Trade" by Hugh Thomas:

Another book about slavery which I haven't gotten to, but is recommended is "Inhuman Bondage"

message 25: by Monica (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:13PM) (new)

Monica | 1 comments I enjoy history books with a lot of historic pictures. My favorites are from Arcadia Publishing. They publish pictorial local history books, it seems like they have one for every small town in the country!

message 26: by Marshall (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:14PM) (new)

Marshall | 1 comments Hello everyone. As a former/soon-to-be returning history graduate student interested in social/cultural/gender history I will add my interests to the list as well.

1.) History of Marxism. How a theory gained so many fans and created so many variants. And the over-arching question: Does Marxism inevitably lead to Stalinism?

2.) East-Central European history since approximately 1800; particualary the Habsburg Empire and its modern cultural vibrance in the 19th century, and Czechoslovakia post-1945.

3.) Nixon and LBJ. The U.S. in the 1960s and 70s. U.S. pop-culture history.

4.) Jewish and Israeli history. While I have studied, extensively, the Holocaust; I find that these days my interests are stronger in the makingn of modern Israel - from Zionism to today.

5.) Nationalism and nation-building. How it is constructed? Who influences our nationalist afiiliations? And, most importantly nationalism's relevance and impact today.

6.) Gender and opposition movements. Gender is an extremely useful category of analysis (thanks Joan Scott) especially when analyzing how men and women interact in oppositon movements, and teh ways in which men in these movements try to exert their masculinity.

message 27: by Annie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:14PM) (new)

Annie | 9 comments John, for travel writing with a historical twist, I can highly recommend Pamuk's Istanbul: Memories and the City. It is part memoir, part history, and Orhan Pamuk is a great writer. While I liked Snow a great deal, I prefer his non-fiction (see also his Istanbul anecdotes in The New Yorker).

As for the type of history I am into, I have been lately all over the place. Just look at my list of books! As an undergrad, I was a bit of a Francophile, especially in love with the Revolution. Robert Darnton is one of the best scholars of Enlightenment- and Revolution-era France. Darnton is also one of the originators of "book history," which is still a (relatively) new and nebulous field of study, but the literature out there is compelling on both sides of the fence. I can particularly recommend Adrian Johns (his debates with Elizabeth Eisenstein are hilarious and nasty).

If/when I go back to grad school for history, though, I will probably do some sort of gender/labor/immigration in Gilded Age (and thereabouts) US.

message 28: by Fred (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:39PM) (new)

Fred | 2 comments I like to study the history that defines an era. Civil war, great depression, WWII, civil rights of the 60's. The great changes. I am reading Rosa Parks right now.

message 29: by Leslie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:40PM) (new)

Leslie | 3 comments I read mostly American focusing a lot on the Civil War. However, I read mostly Military history with the majority of that being about the Navy.

message 30: by Patrick (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:40PM) (new)

Patrick | 13 comments Leslie, what got you into military history? And which authors do you like on the Civil War and the Navy?

message 31: by Leslie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:41PM) (new)

Leslie | 3 comments Patrick - I have always been interested in History. I grew up in a very historical town and think that is what did it. My father and Grandfather were both in the Navy and I always enjoyed the stories that they had to tell, neither of them went Career, but still had really good tales to tell. Often is hard to tell if they are true or not, so I started reading History books about the Navy and that was it I was hooked on reading about the Captains and Admirals, the ships and battles. Lately, I have really gotten into reading about the SEAL teams, their history, creation and the missions that they go on. A very good author that I enjoy is Orr Kelly. I also read pretty much anything about women that have fought in wars when they technically were not allowed to and As far as the Civil war is concerned, I read a lot about Lincoln, the women that fought (read Thy Fought like Demons) and the ships. I am currently re-reading Last Flag Down (Very good). I do read a lot of historical fiction as well and no one can beat, Jeff and Michael Shaara.

Other history I get into is Mining and old mine towns. I am originally from one here in Colorado and I love reading about how the towns started and the way they all took the law on pretty much a case by case basis.

I am sure that there is a lot more that I could say about it all but then I would be here all night!

message 32: by Meaghan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:46PM) (new)

Meaghan (meggilyweggily) | 2 comments I'm interested in the private lives of historical figures. I don't care about battles and politics and stuff, but more like what did a person eat, how'd they get along with their family, stuff like that. The best history books, in my opinion, are those that blend private life details seamlessly with big world-changing events.

message 33: by Tamaal (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:54PM) (new)

Tamaal Ghosh | 2 comments Being born in India, the one non-fic. book I remember well was "Freedom At Midnight", the 'before-during-and-after' of August 16, 1947 and the Partition.

Characters from the Mughals to Mountbatten, places from Plassey to the Punjab, anecdotes, comments opinions - it's all there.

message 34: by VMom (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:55PM) (new)

VMom (votermom) | 3 comments This sounds like it fits your topic, though I haven't read it:
The Embarrassment of Slavery: Controversies over Bondage and Nationalism in the American Colonial Philippines by Michael Salman

And I'm planning to read this book at some point, which seems to have good reviews on Amazon:
Benevolent Assimilation: The American Conquest of the Philippines, 1899-1903 by Stuart Creighton Miller

message 35: by VMom (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:55PM) (new)

VMom (votermom) | 3 comments I'm sorry, I was posting in reply to Ria on teh Philippine-American war -- forgot this thing doesn't thread.

In reponse to the original poster, the kind of history I'm interested in is more about setting -- the cultures and mores, and the way people (used to) think. I really enjoy historical fiction that can bring that to life. As someone upthread said-- the why & how. Not the dates and places.

Periods in history I gravitate to:
Philippine pre-colonial & colonial history
Alexander's conquest
Ancient Egypt
18th & 19th century Britain
the Spanish conquista

But really I'll read anything. I'm all over the place. A flibbertijibbet and a will-o'-the wisp.

message 36: by peg (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:33PM) (new)

peg (mcicutti) | 5 comments Ria - I am very interested in slavery in the US. The most compelling readings I have done on the subject are written in "The Classic Slave Narratives" compiled by Henry Louis Gates. There are other books containing slave narratives as well. The narratives are accounts of slavery written by slaves between the years of roughly 1700 to 1940's.

message 37: by lilias (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:43PM) (new)

lilias My interests come at me in waves. Lately I've been interested in the Roman Empire and the lives of Roman emperors, especially Augustus, Tiberius, and Caligula. I've recently finished Gore Vidal's novel "Julian," an emperor I believe is often overlooked in the long line of the Roman Empire.

A few years ago I wrote my graduate thesis on the blues that was sung in the Delta South just after Emancipation. So I guess you could say I'm interested in what song lyrics and music and other forms of art reveal about a particular era.

Speaking of art, I am very interested in Italian history- I guess it's because I am half Italian. The partisan movement during WWII was of particular interest to me at one point of my life. I was not able to find any especially good books on the subject, though- at least none that stick out in my mind.
I also recently read Cipolla's "Faith Reason and the Plague," a book that I recommend to anyone who is interested in Catholicism or disease or sociology (I know- quite a difference there). It's a quick read on the subject of the Bubonic Plague entering a small Tuscan town called Monte Lupo and the reaction of the church and the townspeople to the attempts doctors made to keep the plague out. Really an excellent book.

edit: I forgot that I tend to be drawn to Revolutions.

I could go on. I usually like a book if it has an accurate historical twist to it.

message 38: by Grumpus (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:43PM) (new)

Grumpus Peg,

I just finished The Slave Ship: A Human History and found it very interesting. It may give you a new perspective on the slave trade.

message 39: by Meaghan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:48PM) (new)

Meaghan (meggilyweggily) | 2 comments I'm into European history of all kinds, and have a particular fascination with the Tudor royals in Great Britain. I will read anything about the Tudors, history and historical novels of both the crappy and the better kind.

message 40: by Christian (new)

Christian | 1 comments Two years ago I totally got sucked into the niche of queer hollywood history, and like anything queer oriented in history since often its a history thats invisible. I also really am into local history - specific to certain periods, in general, my city (philadelphia) and wherever else I happen to traveling through or get sucked into through a story. I'm a photographer and LOVE old photos of Philadelphia - particularly of specific street corners, intersections, addresses, and landmarks.

message 41: by Jennie (new)

Jennie | 3 comments I love local history!! I love knowing who the streets in my town are named after, and I love to look at old Sanborn maps of my town, trying to figure out what was where. My city (Greensboro, NC) is celebrating its bicentennial this coming year, and I can't wait to see all the exhibits, lectures, and antique photographs that are going to be all over town.

message 42: by Meirav (new)

Meirav Rath | 3 comments I think my taste is very flexible, though it revolves around several solid subjects.

I'm very interested in the holocaust and have a bigger interest in informative, non-personal historical books about the subject rather than personal testimonies.

The second world war is another pet subject of mine with a big tip towards the European campaign and within it the Russian story since I feel this side's been somewhat left out in many forms of the media.

The Roman Empire is very interesting to me, I've got a couple of good books about the styles of life at those times and the mythology and religious background. The Claudius books are a special delight.

Lawrence of Arabia; the film got me hooked and then I discovered a very intersting, complicated man. His writing is extremely special (it's one way of describing it...) and his deeds are an interesting read.

Zionism, the early days of Israel and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict; being an Israely and a jew I find it not only necessary for me to read about this subject but also a very intersting lesson to learn since it has many implications on my life today.

The rest of my history books are pretty much from an overly wide range to put under a title.

Krista the Krazy Kataloguer (kristathekrazykataloguer) | 2 comments Hello! I'm so pleased to belong to this group! I love to read history books and have no one to discuss them with.

I enjoy reading about all kinds of history in all kinds of places-- whatever catches my interest. I especially like the history of New York State, where I live, and women's history worldwide. I like historical mysteries and biographies, which are histories of people. My favorite topics in America history are Native Americans, the West, the settling of the frontier, the French and Indian War, the Revolution, the War of 1812, Reconstruction, and the Depression/Dust Bowl.

In world history I especially like to read about the Holocaust, the Inquisition, various plagues and natural disasters in history, Biblical history, the explorers, and the history of Egypt, China, Japan, Africa, Poland, Scotland, the civilizations of Arabia and Central and South America, ancient Greece, ancient Rome, and Australia.

I also read historical novels, because these can be great launching points for reading non-fiction on a subject. And I love Book TV!

message 44: by Sera (new)

Sera Hello, everyone. I'm new to the group, which looks to be very interesting, because of all the diversity of interests in regard to history.

I was a history major in college, and American History was my favorite subject. I enjoy reading about the founding fathers, the Civil War and biographies of Presidents, such as Teddy Roosevelt.

Since then, I've become very interested in Russian History. I'm Ukrainian and a first generation American so part of that interest is a personal one to me. I am fascinated by Peter the Great and the Romanov family. I've read quite a bit about Nicholas II and his family, which, as I am sure many of you know, were the last royal family to rule Russia. I currently have a biography of Catherine the Great on my "to read" list.

Lately, I've become very intrested in English history, and in particular Henry VIII. Queen Victoria is someone whom I would like to know more about, and I look forward to reading a biography about her that I have sitting on my bookshelf.

I enjoy biographies, but I also like to read about historical events, and I also enjoy historical fiction. However, the latter needs to be fairly for me to read it; I don't like authors taking too many liberties with the facts as they really were.

message 45: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 6 comments Hi everyone!

I figure it was time to make a post to this group. I joined a little while ago, and I've been reading the updates.

I love reading about history, but I tend to go through phases of what I'm interested in. I was a history major in college.

My main interest is english history, and I am drawn to the Tudors the most. Like some other people have said, I'm more interested in daily life and people than in battles. I'm starting to branch out and read stuff about Medieval civilization in general.

I used to be really interested in WWII, and I'm still interested in books about the Holocaust, but I haven't read anything about it in a while. I'd like to pick up some of the Holocaust memoirs that are out there.

I go through a Great Depression phase every now and then. I recently read some books about the Romanovs and Marie Antoinette, and I'd be interested in reading more about Russian and French history (and European history in general).

I live in Chicago, so I'm always interested in books dealing with that city. I've recently become very interested in the fall of Yugoslavia. I was able to go to Kosovo a couple of years ago with my law school, so since then I've been reading what I can about the Balkans in general.

Those seem to be my main interests, but I'll give any subject a try. I also enjoy well-researched historical fiction. I feel like I'm not entirely wasting my time because I'm able to learn at least a little bit. I don't usually read regular fiction books (Harry Potter was the main exception), although I'm giving it a try with a different group on goodreads. My main love will always be history books!

message 46: by Jessica (new)

Jessica | 3 comments Hello All!

I just joined this group and am amazed at the breadth of historical knowledge here! I'm a history grad student (re-entering after some years away from school) and still in the midst of my coursework so my interests really seem to be based on what I am assigned at the time - I can't seem to find a history I can't stand.

After reading Edward Said's "Orientalism" though I've become more and more interested in Middle Eastern history particularly post-World War I.

Meirav, if you're interested in Lawrence you might want to also check out "Gertrude Bell" - she's kind of the female Lawrence and pretty interesting.

Next semester I'm gearing up for some interesting stuff on modern Asia and history and memory, which includes a lot of books on the Holocaust. Already I feel my loyalties shifting to the new topics - I'll be sunk when I have to nail down my thesis!

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